The Day One Tweet Changed Everything

Sometimes, my Facebook account surprises me. Today, it reminded me of a traumatic event I had tried hard to forget. But I had also forgotten how much good came from it. And all because of one tweet.

Three years ago today, on US Thanksgiving, I was robbed in the security line at LAX. My purse was spirited away in seconds, by someone who just as quickly disappeared into the crowd and was never seen again.

As usual, I had requested a wheelchair and an attendant to escort me through security. Their role is to help get me through the line, assist me in getting my belongings scanned and collected at the other end, and then get me to my gate. I usually have a decent experience – but not this time.

This attendent in LAX didn’t know how to escort a blind person through security, was rude, and worse, actually pushed me and the wheelchair into a cart of plastic bins to get them out of his way. I was appalled. Then, he chose not to stay by me when I was retrieving my belongings – instead, he yelled at me to hurry up and get back into the wheelchair because he “wanted to go home”. I guess he had a turkey dinner waiting for him.

Well, in my haste and confusion and with no assistance, my purse was stolen right off the line. My iPhone, iPod Touch, Surefire flashlight, wallet, cards, keys, sunglasses and my specially made reading glasses, all gone in a matter of seconds. Thankfully, they did NOT get my passport.

I was scared, devastated, crying, and helpless – and at the mercy of a negligent attendant who wanted nothing else but to go home on a Thanksgiving afternoon. I had no idea what to do.

But suddenly, happily, things began to turn around.

A very kind attendant relieved my surly guy, who apparently did go home. She then got her supervisor involved. Her name was Diane, she was an angel, and she ROCKED. She first apologized for her employee’s attitude and neglect. And in a kind act that astounded me, Diane reached into her purse and handed me $10. I KNEW she didn’t have that much money, and it was a big sacrifice on her part.

But the most important thing Diane did that day was letting me use her cell phone so I could do the best and most expedient thing I could think of. I sent out one desperate tweet about my predicament.

That tweet got the attention of friends and acquaintances, who offered help and moral support. My dear friends Lorraine and IdaRose sprang into action. Lorraine managed to cancel bank and credit cards, while IdaRose and her husband Neil arranged a cab (actually a white limo!) to pick me up at the airport to take me to their annual Thanksgiving feast. I was wined and dined and hugged many times that evening by a crowd of very supportive people, got to hang out with friends I love, and even had a night at a nearby hotel paid for so I could rest and recover from the day.

THAT is what I was thankful for on that Thanksgiving Day – and what I recall today with tears in my eyes.

Things are just things, life has its scary moments and hard times, but it’s people, in person and online, those in hugging distance, and those who offer them from afar, that make life worthwhile. 

Thanks again Diane, for making me feel I mattered when all I felt was lost. Thanks, Lorraine, IdaRose, and Neil, for being there when I needed you the most. Thanks to everyone who saw my tweet, tweeted, retweeted, and made my heart sing. Thanks also to my dear friends Dick (who left us this year) and Barbara, who have always given me a place to call home. I will never forget your love and support. And I’ll always try to pay it forward.

 

A Bit of an Update

Well, we made it through the Hump Month of August, and did just about everything we set out to accomplish.

We managed to get our Ottawa house on the market – and it sold in mere days for the full asking price!  Miraculous!!

And I went back to Vancouver on September 1st and found a place to live – the main level of a little bungalow right in the Main Street neighborhood I’ve come to love so much.

Next steps – I fly back to Ottawa this coming weekend and supervise the packing and the move – and the most wonderful thing – I get to see the nice guys from 1-800-GotJunk drive away with a truckload of STUFF:-)  I’ll be a happy camper when that’s all done.

Then we close the house on the 30th, pay our bills and start a new chapter.

My husband Dave and I will begin a drive across Canada around October 2nd in plenty of time to meet the moving van at our new digs.  It’s a first for both of us and we’re very excited!  I’m hoping to meet up with fellow bloggers and Twitterers as we go…and of course, write about our impressions of a part of Canada that we’ll discover together.  I’ll be tweeting our destinations, so you all have an idea of where we’ll be stopping.

Praying for lots and lots of good Internet and cell coverage!

Wish us luck – and hope to meet many of you along the way.

In the meantime, though, I need to post a few more blogs this week to make up for lost time!

How I Spent My Twitter Vacation

When Twitter went down with no warning on Thursday morning, my first reaction was annoyance.  I was in the middle of my morning ritual of checking overnight posts, replying and RTing where it made sense, and generally getting up to speed – and this unexpected downtime interrupted my schedule. Drat.  Oh well, I’ll grab a coffee and it’ll be back up.

But of course, it wasn’t.

So I went over to Facebook, which for me isn’t my preferred vehicle of conversation.  Commiserated with a few fellow Tweeters who, like me, were starting to get twitchy. One dear old friend suggested to me that perhaps I needed a 12-Step Program…

I knew he was joking (really, he was!), but it did prompt me to realize that I was spending too much time staring at the screen, simply waiting for the bluebird to rise again.

So I walked away from the computer. I actually sat and read the paper. I called my mother. I curled up with my frail little 16 year old cat and told her how much I loved her.  And it felt good.

When Twitter came back up, I was relieved and happy – but I also reminded myself to approach this platform I love with a little more objectivity, a different perspective.  As much and as often as I am on Twitter, and as much as I value who I know and what I’ve learned there – there a lot more to savor.

So, no 12-Step.  But certainly one important one for me.

Building Connections, Two at a Time

Not sure how it’s happened, but I am hovering around the 3,000 mark in followers on Twitter.  And I follow just about that many people.  It’s amazing.  And overwhelming.  How can I possibly connect with all these wonderful, smart people?

Realistically, I can’t, although I try really hard to engage as many as I can.  And surprisingly, (to me at least) many people engage right back. I love when that happens.

So, I’ve decided to share my very positive Twitter experience.

This week I began posting what I’m calling my Introduction of the Day –  connecting two people I have met on Twitter who may share interests, or professions, or proximity.  Or they may just be two people I enjoy so much that I simply want them to meet and strike up a conversation.

After all, conversation is what Twitter is all about.

I’m looking forward to having fun with this.  And I hope it prompts you to introduce people you know.  I think it has the potential to enrich the Twitter experience for all of us.

Let me know how it goes.

Blogathon Vancouver – 24 Hours, Many Heroes

Yesterday, at the ungodly hour of 6am, several of my Vancouver friends plunged into 24 straight hours of blogging for charity.  Blogathon Vancouver has helped support the efforts of some 20 local charities – from the BC Cancer Foundation and the BC Children’s Hospital to the Vancouver Food Bank and the Federation of BC Writers.  And it’s also introduced the world to some of the most talented and caring people I know.

I was fortunate to guest-blog during the event.

Check out my post for @hummingbird604 on Making the Most of  Twitter in Real Life here.

And I took a slightly lighthearted look at how social media, especially Twitter, can level the playing field for disabled people. Take a look on @ganga_narayanan’s blog here.

For more comprehensive info on Blogathon, visit both @hummingbird604’s and @Miss604’s blogs for starters.  You’ll see references to the many people who participated and the charities they helped.

Next year, I hope to be part of this marvellous group in person.  Great job, everyone!

You are heroes.